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The world according to the Blaine Brothers: tracking

The Blaine Brothers have their own approach to VFX. Let's hear what they have to say about tracking and how they use it in their work.

In this video the Blaine Brothers talk about a particular job they did which used a different type of tracking to what you’ve seen so far in the HitFilm exercise.

In their music video for legendary reggae group Steel Pulse, the brothers used a type of tracking known as “corner pinning” to find the corners of photographs hanging from pegs and attach moving images of the band to them.

Watch the original video of Global Warning by Steel Pulse (2004). This video is over 10 years old now, so is representative of that time. It’s this same corner pinning method that is often used these days for replacing car number plates in commercials or films.

At around 1.58 in the video Chris Blaine mentions tracking can be aided by higher frame rates, or rather higher shutter speeds. This is a facility most digital cameras have. The more frames per second or faster shutter speeds for each frame means you can get crisper shots with less motion blur and therefore more accurate tracking because the edges of objects are clearer.

An optional note for HitFilm users:

If you want to try corner pinning, it can be achieved in HitFilm by using the Quad Warp effect.

The effect provides four positionable points which can warp the picture or object – for instance to fit a graphic to a billboard. These points can then be hand-animated or tracked.

Using the knowledge you’ve already gained this week and building on the first practical exercise, can you figure out how to use corner pinning in HitFilm 4 Express? Try filming a shot featuring a television screen or a billboard sign, then track the corners and use that data with the quad warp effect to put a new image or graphic in the sign or screen. Help each other out in the comments and we’ll be on hand to offer advice as well.

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Visual Effects for Guerrilla Filmmakers

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